Why is my car going *bump*?
January 6, 2009 5:13 PM   Subscribe

What is the possibility/likelihood that the bumping noise my car is making (maybe a bad axel?) is caused by a realignment I had done not long ago?

About a month ago I had my Camry realigned and tires rotated. Not long after that I started noticing a *bump* sound and feeling that seems to be coming from the right rear, but only when I was backing out of our garage, making a sharp turn. Now it’s doing it when I pull into the garage (opposite sharp turn). I’m taking the car in on Saturday, but was first wondering if it could have been caused by a faulty realignment job on their part and if that’s something worth pursing when it comes to the $$bill$$.
posted by texas_blissful to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total)
Alignments usually are for the front wheels only (even when you pay for a four wheel alignment -- the back wheels rarely need it). If you think the noise is coming from the rear then I would be hesitant to make a clear connection -- however I would take it back to the garage and say "a week after I brought my car here a wierd noise started happening when I do _repeatable_action_they_can_preform_. Can you let me know if its related to the work you did, or not?

They should (under fear of doing faulty work) tell you it is their fault (or more likely) tell you what the problem is and a rough estimate. If they want to charge you go elsewhere.
posted by SirStan at 5:29 PM on January 6, 2009

This sounds like you have a shot shock.
posted by dunkadunc at 5:37 PM on January 6, 2009

Take it to another mechanic. Ask them to check it out. Then, once they tell you what it is, describe the work you had done elsewhere and ask if it's possible it was done incorrectly and is causing/may have caused the problem.
posted by davejay at 6:05 PM on January 6, 2009

I once had a knocking in my rear right wheel well that went away when the tire was replaced (after the other back tire exploded, I just replaced both). So it could be a misshapen wheel or a loose lugnut.
posted by cowbellemoo at 6:19 PM on January 6, 2009

I'd say it is unlikely to be related - rear alignment on front wheel drives often isn't adjustable, so it is unlikely they even did anything back there anyway.

I'd suggest a worn bush, loose wheel nuts, shock top mounts or some other bushing issue related to mileage to make a noise of that type under sharp turning (ie side load) conditions like that. It probably makes the noise when you corner, you just can't hear it. It could also be the handbrake knocking off, or something suitably random (although it doing it going in the garage as well suggests that is less likely, unless you always park and apply the handbrake before opening the door).

However, all that wild speculation is worthless if you are not entirely sure as to the area of the noise - things echo around modern cars in bizarre ways, so you'll have to be extra sure that the noise comes from the area it appears to.
posted by Brockles at 6:39 PM on January 6, 2009

I had a broken shock mount that made this kind of noise.
posted by lee at 6:39 PM on January 6, 2009

Response by poster: Ahhhh, okay....duh about the whole front-wheel drive thing. I'm totally dense when it comes to cars and was trying to go off google searches. Hopefully the outcome isn't too terrible. FWIW, there's only 50,000 miles on the car, but it's 8 years old.
posted by texas_blissful at 7:12 PM on January 6, 2009

Response by poster: PS - Is it still okay to drive it for the next few days?
posted by texas_blissful at 7:12 PM on January 6, 2009

If it's only a slight clunk, I for one would certainly drive with it. But I've driven with all manner of minor and major faults.

If it is a loud clunk that you can feel (at all) at low speed, then I'd get it checked. I'd jack up each rear wheel and wiggle it, first, if I were you though. If it moves at all, get thee to a garage. If you can feel no movement from a fairly energetic wiggle, then it's probably ok for a few days, but perhaps better be safe than sorry if you are genuinely clueless? It's hard to determine 'safe clunk' over the internet...
posted by Brockles at 7:31 PM on January 6, 2009

Not saying its anyone's fault, but doing alignments can break things.
posted by gjc at 6:09 PM on January 7, 2009

« Older A rocking riad in Marrakech?   |   I just lost the Christmas 5, but the Thanksgiving... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.